Plasma skin treatment is a revolutionary technology that is used to help tighten and resurface skin in a non-surgical manner. For many years, plasma technology has been utilized across Europe to achieve incredible cosmetic enhancement in different areas of the body. Fortunately, this same technology is now available here in the United States with Dr. Hilinski and his medical spa team. One main reason why plasma skin tightening has gained such popularity in the world of plastic surgery and cosmetic dermatology is the fact it is non-invasive – yet can deliver aesthetic results that rival many surgical procedures.
How Plasma Treatment Works
Plasma treatment involves use of high voltage, low current electrical energy that essentially creates a ‘spark’ over the treatment area. The spark is the result of electrical energy interacting with specific gases in the air (or delivered to the tip of the device). When this interaction occurs, plasma energy is created. Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter and can be effectively harnessed as a cosmetic treatment tool.
The underlying skin responds to this plasma spark by tightening up, or contracting. This causes a fairly immediate effect in terms of skin tightening. Following this, a second phase of healing unfolds where new collagen is formed by the body to further help in the process of rejuvenation. Since this involves activation of fibroblast cells under the skin, many offices will refer to plasma skin tightening as fibroblast skin tightening.
The end result is a smoothing of the skin in some areas, lifting of the tissue in other areas and/or a combination of these two effects. The beauty of this technology is that the entire treatment can be performed without any skin cutting, removal of skin or injection into the skin.
In addition to tightening and lifting skin, a plasma pen can also be used to treat unwanted pigmentation that may be in the superficial skin layer. It does so by targeting the pigment cells. A dark spot, for example, will turn a bit darker initially. Then it will begin to fade away in the coming days to weeks.
There are a number of plasma devices, or pens, now on the market. All of them function in a fairly similar manner in terms of how they make plasma. However, most of the plasma pens you will see out there are not considered professional or medical grade. Not only are most of these not as powerful in terms of making plasma, they are also not engineered as well as the professional grade plasma pens.
Dr. Hilinski and his medical spa team have chosen the Plasma Pen by Louise Walsh International as their preferred fibroblast skin tightening tool. This is, in part, because this plasma pen has been designed and engineered in Germany and has a proven track record as one of the world’s most effective devices for non-surgical skin tightening.
Best Candidates for Plasma Pen
The best candidates for plasma pen treatment are similar to those who are undergoing any type of skin resurfacing procedure. This means the lighter the skin, the better the candidate. If you have much darker skin color, you are not considered a good candidate for plasma pen treatment.
Plasma Eyelid Lift
One of the most popular procedures performed with plasma is the non-surgical eyelid lift, or non-surgical blepharoplasty, for patients who have excess upper eyelid skin changes. This includes patients with more crepey upper eyelid skin or hooding of the upper eyelid skin. For many years, the answer to this very common cosmetic problem has been to undergo surgical blepharoplasty where the upper eyelid skin is cut out. Fortunately, for those considered to be a candidate for a plasma pen eyelid lift, this skin can now be tightened without surgery! This is accomplished with the plasma energy, which is carefully and strategically used along specific zones of the upper eyelid skin to tighten and lift. In most plasma eyelid lifts, you will see an instant tightening of the skin. As time goes on, this skin will demonstrate even more contraction and lifting as new collagen is formed along the upper eyelid skin. The end result in many patients will rival the surgical outcomes seen in some patients undergoing surgical blepharoplasty.
Other Indications for Plasma
Plasma skin treatment has also been effectively used to treat the following:
- Lip Flip
- Smoker’s lines around the mouth
- Visible stretch marks
- Unsightly scars
- Raised moles
- Skin tags
Plasma pen treatment is done using application of a topical anesthetic cream that will be applied in the office. The topical numbing cream is usually applied for 20 minutes before the treatment is started. This allows for a virtually painless plasma pen experience. During the treatment, you might sense a warm feeling in certain areas. Immediately following the treatment, you may note a tingling and/or burning sensation for a short period of time. In rare cases, an injection of a numbing solution is needed to complete the treatment.
Each session of plasma skin treatment takes, on average, 30-45 minutes in the office setting.
Recovery from Plasma Pen
Following treatment, tiny dark brown/black spots will be seen. Some redness that mimics a mild burn may also be seen. Swelling is normal and will last 2-3 days. This can be particularly noticeable around the eyes (if they were treated) given how thin the skin is in this area.
The treated area will form some scabbing. It is important to keep these treated areas clean and dry initially. Picking these areas must be avoided or you will have a much higher risk of scarring. The only topicals you should apply should be recommended by Dr. Hilinski and/or his staff. You should also protect these areas from mechanical trauma (friction and rubbing) for upwards of 5-7 days after plasma pen treatment.
Over-the-counter pain medication is usually all that is needed for control of the mild pain that comes along with the healing process.
Make-up can be worn during the healing process – but we recommend waiting at least 5-7 days after plasma skin treatment.
Plasma Skin Results
Most patients will notice an instantaneous improvement in their skin following plasma treatment. The cosmetic enhancements will continue to improve over the following weeks to months as new collagen is produced in the treatment area. The adjacent photo example shows results of plasma pen crow’s feet treatment approximately 2 months after a single session. Notice how much improvement there has been in the deeper wrinkles and lines around the corner of the eye.
Although a majority of patients will see a nice improvement following a single plasma treatment, many will opt to undergo a series of treatments to achieve even more ideal cosmetic enhancement. Plasma pen treatments should be scheduled 8-12 weeks apart in order to allow your skin adequate time to respond to the prior treatment.
Dr. John Hilinski has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.